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2008 Holiday Book List

by Rob Friesel

If anyone is looking for some last-minute gift ideas for the beloved bookworm(s) in their lives, F_D has a few recommendations to pass along.  I’ve picked my top ten reads from ’08 1 and posted them here for you to serve as gift ideas for the avid 2 readers in your lives.  The list is a healthy mix of newer stuff and older stuff – but every one of the books on the list is one I would recommend 3.  So without further ado:

  1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy – for some reason, my GoodReads review never made it to the F_D site here.  In any case, The Road is emotional blunt force trauma, a total stunner.
  2. Pastoralia by George Saunders – or just about anything by George Saunders?  If you didn’t catch it before, my review appeared here in June.  It boggles my mind a little that it took me until this year to hear about George Saunders.  It boggles my mind even further that I heard about him from A.  He has a caustic wit 4 and I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this one.
  3. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams – A. got this one for me as one of my ’07 Xmas presents; didn’t get around to reading it until early ’08.  And it was still my favorite anthology from ’08 5  My review appears here.
  4. Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem – as I noted in my original review, Lethem is sci-fi’s worthy successor to Raymond Chandler.  It’s tweaked-out detective noir in a so-weird-it-could-happen near future.  This is a debut worth checking out; even if it’s merely new-to-you.
  5. Ghostwritten by David Mitchell – this was another debut novel from a new-to-me author during ’08, and another one that floored me.  Mitchell cuts such a diverse swath of stories and voices and ties them together so masterfully that you’d think this was his 10th novel.  It can be a bit of a challenging read but it’s definitely worth it.
  6. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami – almost de-throned Hard-Boiled Wonderland… as my favorite Murakami novel.  This one is a quicker read and maybe a little more straightforward but don’t let stop you from picking up both.
  7. Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays by David Foster Wallace – this is a very mature, very hilarious collection of essays by DFW 6 and though Oblivion is more recent, this is the one that I read this year.  It was very satisfying.
  8. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooksambulothanatophobia in the house!  For all your zombie phobic friends, this “oral history” of a novel is (as my own review will testify) entertaining as hell’s own hordes.
  9. Just After Sunset: Stories by Stephen King – though I’ll admit that I haven’t finished this collection yet, I’ve read enough of the stories it contains to recommend it.  This is probably the best work by King that I’ve ever read.
  10. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – I’ll admit that I didn’t read this one…  But A. tells me that it was jaw-droppingly good and certainly the best novel that she has read this year.  So here it is, recommended to you as well.
  1. That is to say, these aren’t gifts for me.  I’ve already read these.[]
  2. Rabid?[]
  3. And yes, I’ll cop to the fact that all of these are Amazon Affiliate links.  Help keep F_D in the air, eh?[]
  4. Excellent example appears here.[]
  5. And I read a lot of anthologies in ’08.[]
  6. What ’08 book list would be complete without him?[]

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day. Science fiction writer by night. Weekend homebrewer, beer educator at Black Flannel, and Certified Cicerone. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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